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Western Black Rhino Now Extinct; No Sightings Since 2006

By Alexandra Ward   |   Thursday, 07 Nov 2013 07:05 AM

The western black rhino is officially extinct, the world's leading animal conservation group announced Wednesday.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the western black rhino, which is native to Africa, was last seen in 2006 and was previously classified as "critically endangered."

Aggressive poaching and lack of conservation efforts have significantly decreased the rhino population around the world. Africa's northern white rhino is reportedly "teetering on the brink of extinction," according to CNN, and Asia's Javan rhino is "making its last stand."

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"In the case of the western black rhino and the northern white rhino the situation could have had very different results if the suggested conservation measures had been implemented," Simon Stuart, chair of the IUCN species survival commission, said in a statement. "These measures must be strengthened now, specifically managing habitats in order to improve performance, preventing other rhinos from fading into extinction."

The IUCN also recently released an updated version of its Red List of Threatened Species. The roundup included more than 60,000 species of animals and tropical plants, and found that 25 percent of mammals on the list are nearing the brink of extinction, according to CNN.

"This update offers both good and bad news on the status of many species around the world," Jane Smart, director of IUCN's global species program, said in a statement. "We have the knowledge that conservation works if executed in a timely manner, yet, without strong political will in combination with targeted efforts and resources, the wonders of nature and the services it provides can be lost forever."

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The western black rhino is officially extinct, the world's leading animal conservation group announced Wednesday. There have been no sightings since 2006.

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